Sussex Police dog recognised at national awards

A dog serving with Sussex Police has been honoured for helping to save a woman’s life.

Three-year-old Eva was acknowledged as a runner-up at the Thin Blue Paw Awards – supported by Animal Friends Insurance – which took place at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, on September 14.

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation is a national dog welfare charity that celebrates and supports working and retired police dogs across the UK.

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Charity trustee and awards judge Kieran Stanbridge said, “We were amazed at how many incredible nominations we had including many stories of pure heroism, bravery and dedication.”

Claire and Eva. Photo from The Thin Blue Paw Foundation. SUS-210921-150112001

Eva joined the Surrey and Sussex Police Joint Dog Unit in December 2018 as a general purpose dog to work with experienced handler police constable Claire Bird after the retirement of her previous dog, Fiji.

Eva and PC Bird received a ‘highly commended’ certificate after coming runners-up in the Lifesaver Award due to saving the life of a vulnerable woman in June.

PC Bird said, “A suicidal woman absconded from a mental health hospital and Eva was first on the scene. My colleagues had been searching for hours – including a drone operator – but as they began to run out of hope, we rallied the troops and continued looking.

“We’d been searching for two hours when suddenly we heard a cough and Eva found the woman in a garden. Eva has a phenomenal nose and, thanks to her training, led us to the right area.”

Claire and Eva. Photo from The Thin Blue Paw Foundation. SUS-210921-150123001

PC Bird said the woman was unconscious and had tried to hang herself.

She said, “I started first aid while Eva licked the woman’s facial injuries and we requested support from colleagues. Thanks to the team work of all of the officers we were able to get to her in time and get her the help she needed; and Eva was a huge part of that. I couldn’t be prouder of her!”